Lands’ End, again recruiting from an upscale brand, has hired Martin Cooper as senior vice president and creative director for design.
Cooper left Belstaff early this year. He was chief creative officer since 2011. Before Belstaff, he worked at Burberry Group, rising to vice president and design director for outerwear during his 16-year tenure there.
Lands’ End, a 52-year brand that targets middle America, last February named Federica Marchionni, a former Dolce & Gabbana executive, as president and chief executive officer. Subsequently, Joseph Boitano, a former top merchant at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, was named executive vice president, chief merchandising and design officer.
In confirming that Cooper was hired, Marchionni told WWD that his position is a new one at Lands’ End. “He reports to Joe Boitano, but he will work closely with me. We need to execute the vision that I have for the brand,” Marchionni said. She added that Cooper will be the creative director for all Lands’ End collections — men’s, women’s, kids, clothing and accessories.
“He spent a long, long time at Burberry, where he learned a lot from Christopher Bailey and Rose Marie Bravo,” Marchionni said, referring to the current Burberry ceo, and a former ceo. “Both are people I look up to. When Martin was at Belstaff, he took a brand that was in the minds of a few and put it on the map.”
Marchionni said her vision was “to elevate this…company into a meaningful global lifestyle brand.”
She explained that she wants to widen the customer base, among other objectives. While the brand does a big school-uniform business, and does have a core, traditional audience, it needs to capture “the older brothers and sisters of the young kids” wearing the Lands’ End uniforms, she said. “Lands’ End will always be Lands’ End,” Marchionni said, but it’s a matter of modernizing the brand for new customers while maintaining the essential DNA and loyal customer base.
Marchionni has been developing new approaches to marketing and catalogues, gradually reducing the number of Lands’ End shops inside Sears stores, and recently she opened two Lands’ End pop up stores, in Boston and New York, which suggests the company wants to raise its profile, and could get more serious about operating retail shops. Lands’ End has only 11 stand-alone stores; 227 shops inside Sears stores, though the Sears count has been diminishing, and shops-in-shop at the House of Fraser. The brand also sells online and through catalogues.
“My goal is to deliver quality products with more design but at a fair price,” Marchionni said. “This is not a brand for deals.”
Despite her high-fashion experience, Marchionni is adamant that she gets Lands’ End, that she can adapt to a different price point and perspective from Dolce & Gabbana, and that a couple of upscale hires among a team of 6,000 employees, won’t change the corporate culture. “Lands’ End has a strong culture, which is what I love. For myself, I have a very diverse experience,” having worked in technology and fashion.
“I am excited about this incredible opportunity to join Lands’ End,” Cooper said. “Lands’ End is such a loved, iconic and all-American brand and I look forward to building upon Federica Marchionni’s vision and bringing an elevated sense of brand awareness through great product, strong storytelling and respect for the brand’s heritage.”